The Test of the Turban–Through the Eyes of a Sikh Woman

The turban is like a lighthouse on the shore that guides ships to safety, except it’s guiding the soul to safer havens.  Many people will want to argue with you that out appearances don’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts. As you take the emotional journey of tying your turban, you will begin to notice how your outer appearance begins to shape you, as a Gursikh.

The moment you feel the turban cloth in your hands, all your hidden emotions began to come out. There is the fear of looking funny, the excitement of trying some that is part of your religion and security of being held together as cloth becomes your crown, your turban. Because it is such an emotional occasion, its best done in private with just one person helping you tie the turban. When you feel good and comfortable with how you look in a turban, only then you should step out and share your new image with family, friends and of course strangers. There will be a few people that won’t feel comfortable with the turban and not be able to share it with ours. That just means they have to work on making themselves more emotionally accepting and try again at a later time.

If the emotions during the first turban tying were bad, they only get worse in the next few days. The struggle to do the turban by yourself, spending hours to redo your turban over and over again and still not getting the turban right, can be one of the most frustrating things. At this point you either have to go ask for someone to help you or suck it up and wear your turban the best you can tie it. It’s a struggle accepting that your turban isn’t always going to look perfect and that you have to learn to not use that as an excuse not to wear it. There are going to be some people that are going to take longer to learn to tie the turban for themselves. Then it’s going to take longer still to be able to wear the turban you tied yourself, out of the house. It’s emotionally exhausting to get to the point where you can tie the turban and be able to wear it too.

Till this point the fight was all within yourself and with your emotions but the minute you step out of the house, it’s not just about you anymore. Every single person you encounter is going to feel something about your turban. They aren’t always going to say their feelings out loud and the feelings aren’t always pleasant. It’s not necessary that it well be the only people that think negatively about the turban will be the quiet ones. You just have to brace yourself and smile when someone asks you if you hurt your head, or why you’re wearing a towel on your head. With the smile intact you have to correct them that its turban and refrain from going into a long explanation. Let them ask you questions but don’t push it on them or be offended. The calmer you are the quicker people are going to accept the fact that turban is a part of who you are. You have to ask Waheguru for the strength to face people questions and answer them with grace. Guru Gobind Singh Ji had said “Khalsa is my image”, you have to keep that in mind as you deal with the occasional offensive comments and remember if you let the comments get to you, you’re no longer being his cool, calm image.

At times it can be easier to invoke Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s teachings to help you deal with people that aren’t Sikhs, then it is with the people that have been Sikhs their whole life. Not everyone is going to accept the fact that you’re wearing turban and that you want to start on the path of Sikhism. You’re going to get a mixed reaction from the sangat as you did from the general public that was clueless about Sikhism. People are going to be constantly asking you if you took Amrit, making you feel as if you shouldn’t be wearing a turban without first taking Amrit. Others are going to discourage you from taking Amrit at such a young age, and tell you it’s best taken when your old. There might even be a few that tell you that you don’t have to wear a turban; that it’s only for the men. It is going to get frustrating hearing these comments from the people that were supposed to understand you and what you’re going through. You got toughen up and accept every comment with a smile and not let it faze you.

Before you get discouraged, there are going to be good comments too. People are going to be telling you how proud they are of you for taking such a big step, for following your heart and your religion. Those comments are going to help build your courage because those comments and your gut feelings are the only help you are likely to get on this path to being comfortable with your turban. Unless you reach out, nobody is going to reach for you and talk about the emotions of wearing a turban. Everyone just wears it as if they never went through the same emotions as you. Everyone has been down this road, some have made it and they have their turbans that they wear with pride and everyone else is somewhere on the path working their way up. It’s up to you to figure out where you stand emotionally when it comes to wearing a turban. The turban is perfect; you have to perfect yourself to be able to tie it with pride, with honor.

By the time you have crossed every emotional barrier to be able to wear your turban as a second nature; you will never want to take it off again.  As you explain over and over why the turban is important to you, to Sikhism you will understand why Sikhs have bani and bana. Turban experience you have to live, to truly understand. If you can live that experience, you will come out of it as a calmer, happier and wiser Sikh.

The turban is like a lighthouse on the shore that guides ships to safety, except it’s guiding the soul to safer havens.  Many people will want to argue with you that out appearances don’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts. As you take the emotional journey of tying your turban, you will begin to notice how your outer appearance begins to shape you, as a Gursikh.

The moment you feel the turban cloth in your hands, all your hidden emotions began to come out. There is the fear of looking funny, the excitement of trying some that is part of your religion and security of being held together as cloth becomes your crown, your turban. Because it is such an emotional occasion, its best done in private with just one person helping you tie the turban. When you feel good and comfortable with how you look in a turban, only then you should step out and share your new image with family, friends and of course strangers. There will be a few people that won’t feel comfortable with the turban and not be able to share it with ours. That just means they have to work on making themselves more emotionally accepting and try again at a later time.

If the emotions during the first turban tying were bad, they only get worse in the next few days. The struggle to do the turban by yourself, spending hours to redo your turban over and over again and still not getting the turban right, can be one of the most frustrating things. At this point you either have to go ask for someone to help you or suck it up and wear your turban the best you can tie it. It’s a struggle accepting that your turban isn’t always going to look perfect and that you have to learn to not use that as an excuse not to wear it. There are going to be some people that are going to take longer to learn to tie the turban for themselves. Then it’s going to take longer still to be able to wear the turban you tied yourself, out of the house. It’s emotionally exhausting to get to the point where you can tie the turban and be able to wear it too.

Till this point the fight was all within yourself and with your emotions but the minute you step out of the house, it’s not just about you anymore. Every single person you encounter is going to feel something about your turban. They aren’t always going to say their feelings out loud and the feelings aren’t always pleasant. It’s not necessary that it well be the only people that think negatively about the turban will be the quiet ones. You just have to brace yourself and smile when someone asks you if you hurt your head, or why you’re wearing a towel on your head. With the smile intact you have to correct them that its turban and refrain from going into a long explanation. Let them ask you questions but don’t push it on them or be offended. The calmer you are the quicker people are going to accept the fact that turban is a part of who you are. You have to ask Waheguru for the strength to face people questions and answer them with grace. Guru Gobind Singh Ji had said “Khalsa is my image”, you have to keep that in mind as you deal with the occasional offensive comments and remember if you let the comments get to you, you’re no longer being his cool, calm image.

At times it can be easier to invoke Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s teachings to help you deal with people that aren’t Sikhs, then it is with the people that have been Sikhs their whole life. Not everyone is going to accept the fact that you’re wearing turban and that you want to start on the path of Sikhism. You’re going to get a mixed reaction from the sangat as you did from the general public that was clueless about Sikhism. People are going to be constantly asking you if you took Amrit, making you feel as if you shouldn’t be wearing a turban without first taking Amrit. Others are going to discourage you from taking Amrit at such a young age, and tell you it’s best taken when your old. There might even be a few that tell you that you don’t have to wear a turban; that it’s only for the men. It is going to get frustrating hearing these comments from the people that were supposed to understand you and what you’re going through. You got toughen up and accept every comment with a smile and not let it faze you.

Before you get discouraged, there are going to be good comments too. People are going to be telling you how proud they are of you for taking such a big step, for following your heart and your religion. Those comments are going to help build your courage because those comments and your gut feelings are the only help you are likely to get on this path to being comfortable with your turban. Unless you reach out, nobody is going to reach for you and talk about the emotions of wearing a turban. Everyone just wears it as if they never went through the same emotions as you. Everyone has been down this road, some have made it and they have their turbans that they wear with pride and everyone else is somewhere on the path working their way up. It’s up to you to figure out where you stand emotionally when it comes to wearing a turban. The turban is perfect; you have to perfect yourself to be able to tie it with pride, with honor.

By the time you have crossed every emotional barrier to be able to wear your turban as a second nature; you will never want to take it off again.  As you explain over and over why the turban is important to you, to Sikhism you will understand why Sikhs have bani and bana. Turban experience you have to live, to truly understand. If you can live that experience, you will come out of it as a calmer, happier and wiser Sikh.

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One Response to The Test of the Turban–Through the Eyes of a Sikh Woman

  1. Interesting article – this year we celebrated the Dastar Bandi of our 7 yr old, why? Firstly to obtain blessings from Waheguru who had helped our son maintain his “patka” for the last 4 yrs and help him move into a new milestone of his Sikhi appearance. He felt very proud, we felt very proud and so did all family & friends who attended. If what’s inside us is all that counts, then why did Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji go to all that effort to give us an identity, that vision, that supreme sacrifice he bestowed on the Khalsa Panth? When you present yourself as a “proper sardar”, including your internal beauty and thought, then you automatically become part of the most the significant blood line, your father, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, your grandfather, Guru Tegh Bahadar Sahib Ji and your Great Grandfather, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. Take a moment to look at this, whoever would want to disregard the turban?

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